The Roman theatre in the old town of Lecce in southern Italy has hosted many different types of drama over the years – but nothing quite like the freestyle football display witnessed on Saturday.
Former Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids set the tone – rocking up in a scooter and high-fiving the contestants for the 2012 Red Bull Street Style.
Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro was one of the five judges, despite displaying a total of zero freestyle tricks in his 19 year playing career.
The freestyle action consists of duels lasting three minutes between two players where each opponent has the ball for 30 seconds at a time.
Some moves required delicate skill, others powerful athleticism, and some just left your head in a spin.
But it was Japan’s Kotaro Tokuda and Daniel Dennehy of Ireland who battled their way through to the final.
Whilst Dennehy showed off his finest footwork, the Irishman could not match the range of the 22-year old from Japan.
Tokuda was the victor by four votes to one – local favourite Gunther Celli snatching third place.
The women’s competition saw an equally inventive array of tricks to dazzle the watching masses, and in the end Kitty Szasz of Hungary was declared the winner by goal-poacher extraordinaire Pippo Inzaghi.